August 30, 2005 | Graham

So who laughed?

I wish I had time for a longer post on the John Brogden brouhaha. The degraded state of journalism in the country is on full-show. A politician gets a little drunk and in a situation which is obviously completely off the record indulges in a bit of horseplay and makes a weak, slightly racist, joke about “mail order brides”, and it ends up on the front page of the newspapers. Is this ethical journalism?
And if Brogden’s behaviour was a hanging offence, how did Bob Hawke survive and prosper? (See David Lange’s autobiography for just how blue his private moments could be.)
More to the point, if these moments are now public and these sentiments make one unsuitable to hold down a responsible job, could someone report who the journalists were that were present at the time, and which ones laughed. They ought to be exposed as well.
This is just another example of hypocritical lynch mob behaviour on the part of the press.
When I get time I’ll expand on this post, because one of the stories being missed in the overflow of mock moral prurience is why Brogden and the NSW Libs couldn’t have handled this event better. There are deep undercurrents here which are being completely over-looked.

Posted by Graham at 9:51 am | Comments (6) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. My understanding was that it wasn’t a private joke, but rather told in front of a rather large crowd of journalists / business people. What was unusual was that it took 2 weeks for the journalists to print the story, and it sounds like it was the Right Wing Homophobic elements of the Liberal Party that pushed the story.
    Wether the journalists laughed is irrelevant. They are not going to lead the nation (or state), not in the traditional sense anyway – the power of the media is, unfortunately, much more subversive.

    Comment by alphacoward — August 30, 2005 @ 11:27 am

  2. I don’t think it was a large function. You can see the report here,20281,16415904-5001021,00.html. It was after a large function.

    Comment by Graham Young — August 30, 2005 @ 12:01 pm

  3. ‘Mail order bride’ is pretty racist I think. Off the top of my head I don’t recall Pauline Hanson saying something more racist than that. I can’t imagine thinking about a person like that, let alone saying anything in any situation. I believe that should be the issue here. He thinks of an Asian woman in those terms, not as an ‘ordinary’ (to his mind) person. Disclaimer, if it was amusing in the great tradition of British comedy then the above is null and void. But I would have had to have heard it myself with several preceeding and following sentences to judge this.
    I know someone who was recording Blanche d’Alpuget for a radio or television thing, and while the recording equipment was inconviniently switched off the following was heard on her answering machine:
    “G’day Blanche, Bob here, are you doing anything tonight?”
    I agree with your holier-than-thou take on the journalists, and not just the ones in question, but generally for all press reporting into sex in any context.

    Comment by Benno — August 30, 2005 @ 10:28 pm

  4. “Brogden and the NSW Libs couldn’t have handled these events better”?! Please! If they were honest and sincere, they would have owned up immediately, and not have claimed that Labor were running a “desperate and personal” campaign against Brogden (Brogden, Sunday Telegraph 28/8/05).
    Whilst I am sad to hear of his suicide attempt, I still hold contempt for Brogden’s character for the fact that after denial after denial, he only quit out of pressure, and he couldn’t even muster a sincere apology without attempting to pass the buck once more.

    Comment by Timmy83 — August 31, 2005 @ 12:46 pm

  5. I think the role of Brogden’s Liberal ooponents (including Howard and Abbott) in this affair should be explored as well.
    This will be the sleeper apsect of this issue.
    I’m reminded of Howard’s courting of Hanson and how he thought he could control it to his own ends and it nearly defeated him (before he appropriated her ideology).

    Comment by barney — August 31, 2005 @ 6:19 pm

  6. alphacoward, the joke wasn’t told in front of a large function. The main function had ended, and Brogden and a few of his advisers went to the bar for a few drinks. There they saw a few women (who happened to be journalists).
    Obviously it’s unacceptable no matter what, but it wasn’t a large function, mate. (see excellent round-up over at Webdiary and also at The Australian’s Media section).

    Comment by James — September 2, 2005 @ 5:23 pm

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